As you have no doubt heard by now, Indiana lost starting quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. for the season due to a torn ACL. The injury was suffered to the same knee (right) as Penix’s 2018 ACL tear.
Stepping in for Penix at quarterback will be redshirt sophomore Jack Tuttle.
Head coach Tom Allen and offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan spoke at length on Monday about Penix and Tuttle.
Allen’s full Monday press conference video is below.
A transcript of Allen and Sheridan’s comments on the two quarterbacks are further below.
No. 10/11 Indiana will travel to Madison to face No. 18/19 Wisconsin on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. ET kick. The game will be televised on ESPN.
See also: Who is Jack Tuttle? Background and video
Video credit – IU Athletics
HEAD COACH TOM ALLEN
Finally, before we move into questions, I wanted to give an update on Michael Penix. He has torn his ACL and will be out for the season. It is a really tough situation for all of us. My heart breaks for Michael. His family is here with him and I am thankful for that. It is tough, it is hard. I really feel for him and all of the work he has done to get back. The bottom line is that setbacks and adversity is part of this life. We told the team, even last week, it is about how you respond to these challenges that define who we are. This is a great opportunity for him to grow amidst the difficulties he has been put through. I am excited for the opportunity that this presents for our football team to come together and rely on our defense, the run game and Jack Tuttle to come in. As you saw on Saturday, he made a great first throw right out of the gate for the two-point play. He has worked extremely hard and prepared at a high level. He is a very good football player. That is why we recruit, why we develop, and why he came to Indiana, was for opportunities like this. We will support Michael in every way possible, through prayers and physical encouragement, to help him through this process as he will have a chance to overcome another hurdle in his life to grow closer to meeting his full potential as a man and eventually as a player. I appreciate the ability here to lead this football team. Questions.
Q. On how Penix and the team will handle this adversity…
ALLEN: Michael and I spent some time together. What do you say? It is a tough thing. It is about love and support at this point. It was a challenge, even before we knew the result. We were talking to him and preparing him for what he might have had. It attacks the core of who you are. How are you going to respond to things that happen that do not seem fair when there is no good answer? That is the case here. You fall back on what you believe in. You fall back on your faith, your family, all the people that care the most about you, and you battle. You fight, you do not back down. It is discouraging, disheartening when it first happens but once you get through the first part of that, you realize it is time to fight. That is why grit is such a great word. It describes this program with perseverance and passion towards a long-term goal. Michael has some big-time long-term goals. It is going to take tremendous grit to fight through this. It is going to create more character, toughness and resolve inside of him that you could ever get if you do not face adversity. As a football team, it is very indicative of those same words. To me, it is about every group elevating one percent. Every position group, every phase of the game. Our defense has played phenomenal this year, but that needs to be elevated. I talked to them today and said that we needed to get one more takeaway, one more key stop or one more big play on defense. The offensive line needs to elevate their attention to detail and their preparation. The receivers need to elevate their attention to detail, their route running and do one more thing that allows this team to be great. Jack Tuttle is a special player, too. I know that he has not played a lot here, but he has a big-time arm and has tremendous football instincts and football IQ. He is extremely bright, but his greatest quality is his work ethic. He was the first guy to our walk-through this weekend and was doing drops on air. He did not even know if he was going to play a snap. As you could tell, when he entered the game, he was ready. That is part of the opportunity that has been presented to him. Same with Dexter Williams, who is now our backup quarterback. We recruited these guys to come here and they have dreams, too. When the opportunity presents itself, you step up and seize those moments. That is what great teams do. This is a football team. It is offense, defense and special teams. All of the other areas need to step up. That is what happens when you lose a special player. Michael is a special player and an even better person. Like I said, our heart is with him and we will continue to support him in every way possible. He will be a great leader on the sideline, in the film room and all of the ways he can continue to help this football team be great on game day.
Q. On Tuttle’s improvements…
ALLEN: I think the consistency has really helped. He came here and the inconsistencies of that… I think I probably noticed it the most during spring ball and fall camp. I think we got four practices in back in the spring before everything was stopped, but then we came back with the system not changing. That has been a big benefit for him and his development. I was really impressed with how he performed in fall camp. I think he was consistent across the board and our staff was impressed and thought he was playing at a level that we brought him here to play at. Sometimes it takes time. There are a lot of variables that go into a young man’s performance. This is why he came here. He was a highly-recruited player out of high school and has a lot of arm talent. He just needs to understand that he has a lot of talent around him. He has a great receiving corps, tight ends, running backs, an offensive line and a great coaching staff that is going to support him. He needs to go out there and relax, just play football. He needs to help lead this team. I am excited for him in the midst of this situation and being able to give him a chance to prove who he is as a football player. You only get those opportunities when they are presented and this situation has presented itself to him and he needs to take it on.
Q: On Tuttle’s poise…
ALLEN: You can call it what it is, it was a tough moment. As Michael went out of bounds, I did not even think anything of it. When he went down, I did not even know what happened. Obviously, we took him off the field and then Jack had to run right in there. That throw that he made on the two-point play was not an easy throw. That was a tough angle, but we work on that a lot. He made that throw in practice many times. We cannot emphasize it enough, the critical component of next man up and always being ready. I was excited for him to be rewarded for his preparation because he was ready to play when he was called upon. Was it unfortunate circumstances? Without question. The team has to rise up and has to be able to execute as a football team. As that happened, the play of our team kept getting better and better for the rest of the game. To me, that is indicative of this football team. This is a tight group of guys, a close-knit family that trusts in each other, loves each other and cares about each other. Part of that is being ready when called upon.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR NICK SHERIDAN
Q. On how your heart breaks for Michael Penix…
SHERIDAN: My heart breaks for Mike and his family. Just a tough deal. Yeah, my heart breaks for him.
Q. On how much you have seen Jack Tuttle improve over the last several months…
SHERIDAN: I think Jack has continued to improve since the day he got here. And we are excited for Jack. Obviously, not the circumstances that you would want but we had a lot of confidence in Jack. He works really hard. He prepares his tail off. He has a lot of talent and he is ready. He did a good job Saturday when he came in the game. He executed and did the things that we asked him to and helped our team win. We have a lot of confidence and faith in Jack and we are excited for him to have that opportunity. And we know that he will do a great job.
Q. On Jack Tuttle being ready to go when called upon…
SHERIDAN: I did. I certainly did. And he has prepared really hard. He has each and every week. I think that gave him confidence to go in the game. And so, he really, he just did his job as soon as what happened, happened. He just put his helmet on, ran out there on the field, took a couple snaps like we normally would. It was really very normal and the conversations that he and I both had were normal just like you normally would with Michael Penix when Mike is in the game. He really did a nice job and did not flinch and did not blink and just went out there and his first pass was a two-point conversion, which was a big play, and he did not throw an incompletion Saturday and did what we asked him to do. I thought he did a nice job of managing the game. Helped us put some drives together that helped us get some points and kind of secured the game toward the end there, so I thought he did a nice job.
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